Ontario Nature (ON), an environmental organization of conservationists and field naturalists, has adopted a resolution opposing wind energy development within 5 km of national and provincial parks and Important Bird Areas of known migratory significance.
The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) and Kingston Field Naturalists, joint sponsors, presented the resolution at ON’s annual general meeting, held in Sarnia, May 28-29. After a friendly amendment, it was passed unanimously.
PECFN board member (and member of the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County) Myrna Wood is responsible for initiating the resolution, preparing the draft, lobbying regional groups for support, and speaking to the question at the AGM.
It is expected that the ON executive will now be lobbying the Ontario government strongly to protect natural areas in which bird migration may be threatened.
Chair, Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County
The full text of the resolution is as follows:
Resolution accepted by members at the Annual General Meeting of Ontario Nature,
May 29, 2010
Priority Resolution on: Protecting Bird Migration Areas
WHEREAS many members of Ontario Nature have advocated for Renewable Energy projects that are Economic, Efficient, Equitable, and Environmentally Sound for over 30 years;
WHEREAS the aims of the Ontario Government’s policies to address climate change through the Green Energy and Green Economy Act and through its Climate Change Action Plan are laudable, more action and refinements are required to ensure that wildlife is properly protected;
WHEREAS most proposed wind farm sites in Ontario are concentrated along the Great Lakes shorelines often precisely where migrating birds are forced to congregate;
WHEREAS proposed wind farms and individual turbines, without thorough studies, may be inappropriately sited near areas particularly important to bird migration, including Provincial Parks, National Parks and Important Bird Areas, and thereby cause significant bird mortality and damage to bird populations;
WHEREAS there is a proposal to site a wind farm at Ostrander Point, Prince Edward County, an internationally recognized Important Bird Area (IBA), where credible radar data show that hundreds of thousands of birds move through the area at an altitude that puts them in danger of collision with turbine blades;
WHEREAS Environment Canada, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Nature Canada, Ontario Nature and the Audubon Society advise that turbines be excluded from Important Bird Areas and other sites important to bird migration and breeding;
WHEREAS the Ontario government has responsibility for wildlife protection, for example, under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and the Endangered Species Act, 2007;
WHEREAS more than half of the bird species that migrate through Ontario to Canada’s northern forests have declined in numbers according to Canadian and US bird counts and Breeding Bird Surveys; and
WHEREAS in Michigan, the Michigan Great Lakes Wind Council has recommended to the governor a buffer that would prohibit the development of wind farms within 5 miles around globally and continentally significant IBAs;
Now Therefore Be it resolved that Ontario Nature – Federation of Ontario Naturalists
(1) calls upon the government of Ontario to place a moratorium on wind farm development within 5 km of known significance to migrating birds and National Parks, Provincial Parks, and Important Bird Areas, until thorough, multi-year radar studies of bird migration are conducted at proposed development sites; and
(2) urges the government to protect these sites from wind farm development if studies determine that they have significant bird migration concentrations, for example, of over 100,000 birds in a season or are found to be situated within major migratory pathways.
Moved by: Myrna Wood, Prince Edward County Field Naturalists
Seconded by: Erwin Batalla, Kingston Field Naturalists
Sponsored by: Prince Edward County Field Naturalists and
Kingston Field Naturalists